MySpace is moving into new territory. On Monday, the Fox Interactive Media property announced it would launch a series of new, ad-supported mobile Web sites targeting mobile device users.
The new MySpace Mobile Web beta service will be available to consumers this week, and a wider rollout is planned in the coming months.
Following in MySpace's footsteps, FoxSports.com, gaming site IGN, AskMen, and Rotten Tomatoes all will be designed for cell phones that connect to the Internet.
Too Soon To Tell
The mobile site beta launches mark the first time that Fox Interactive Media has peddled an advertising solution to marketers looking to reach Internet users on mobile devices. Fox isn't acting alone -- but it isn't working with Google, either.
Fox partnered with Millennial Media, a mobile-advertising network, to sell and serve the mobile ads. The ad opportunities include custom sponsorship packages within MySpace and more traditional display-based ads with other Fox properties. Working with Millennial Media, Fox will sell charter sponsorships within MySpace's new mobile site over the next several months and open all advertising inventory by the end of the year.
Daniel Taylor, a senior analyst at Yankee Group, said Fox Interactive Media's latest move is part of the continuum for any interactive media vendor. Nevertheless, he said he is skeptical about the short-term prospects of the mobile Web.
"It's going to take a couple of years for mobile advertising to play out," he said, "because there's a lot of technologies around mobile that have to fall into place, including architecture and business models."
The Business Model
Taylor said that his industry research tells him that finding users willing to adopt a mobile version of MySpace might be more challenging that Fox anticipates. That's because the extra fees to subscribe to mobile data services are holding up user adoption in general.
"Is there an ad-supported business model for mobile? The answer is yes, there will be an ad-supported model for mobile," Taylor said. "The question is to what extent, whether it will be a full or partial subsidy. Is it going to be free mobile data and free mobile telephony? Are we going to have ads pushed down to us or will we spend a certain amount of money? We don't know yet."
Image credit: Galileo Satellite courtesy of ESA–Pierre Carril, 2014..